Chef Ethan Starr is the Program Director for The Culinary School of Fort Worth. We did a Q&A with him to get to know him a little better! Here’s what he had to say:
Why did you get started in the culinary field? What was your first job?
I was going to school at the University of Oklahoma and started working as a server/bartender. It was simply a job to make some money while I was attending school. After I left that job, I started serving at a sushi restaurant in Norman which turned into my first job as a cook. A chef walked out during the middle of service on a Friday night, and I was the only employee that knew the entire menu, so I took over the sushi bar for the night. After that, I loved making sushi and continued to do so for about 15 years.
Who are some of your biggest culinary inspirations?
Both are former bosses/employers. One is the former executive chef for Sushi Zushi, Katsu Hanamure. The amount of experience and knowledge he has is very inspiring. He has been an executive sushi chef for more years than I have been alive, and he is now a consultant at Sani Resort in northern Greece. The other is Jarry Ho, owner of Tokyo Café. He is as knowledgeable in the culinary field as any chef I have known but also is a very successful and caring owner.
What are you most passionate about in the kitchen?
Besides sushi, I care the most about trying to teach our students good work ethic. Being a good student is about listening and learning from your mistakes. It is difficult to find reliable chefs who are still passionate about learning and practicing their trade.
Do you still cook at home? If so, what are your go-to dishes?
Usually something simple like salmon and roasted Brussels sprouts.
What made you want to get into teaching?
I got to a point in my career where it was difficult to teach people what I had learned while still progressing in my trade. I got the opportunity to start teaching part-time in 2018, and it has been the most fulfilling job of my life.
What do you find to be the most rewarding part about working in a classroom with students?
After working with a student for 9 months, I enjoy getting to see them move on to the next step in their career. Hearing from employers in the industry that our students are successful is the most rewarding part to me.